Digital COVID-19 Vaccination Certificates
Digital COVID-19 Vaccination Certificates. Photos: Pixabay and SAPeople

PRETORIA: Following reports in local media on Tuesday that South Africa’s Digital Covid-19 Vaccination Certificates had been launched, many South Africans were frustrated when they unsuccessfully tried to download their new Vaccination Certificates… and were met by System Error messages. It turns out the reports were a little ahead of themselves, and the certificates are NOT yet ready for launch.

The Department of Health said in a statement that it has been “inundated” with public and media enquiries about challenges people were facing when trying to download and access COVID-19 digital vaccination certificates.

“The department is currently at the testing phase of the system to troubleshoot all possible glitches ahead of the official launch later this week,” said the Department.

Digital COVID-19 Vaccination Certificates in South Africa
South Africans were able to access a page on the Health Department’s site today, inviting them to download their Digital COVID-19 Vaccination Certificates portal. SAPeople cell phone screenshot.

“Thus, the system is not yet officially functional in a live environment which will enable vaccinated members of the public to access and download certificates. We had to build a lot of security into the system to protect individuals’ personal data as much as possible.”


The Department did not mention why the system is visible to some members of the public and not still on a separate Testing server, as is ordinary practice before launching a new online service.

The Department of Health said: “The development and release of fully-fledged COVID-19 vaccination certificates will be phased-in over time.

Digital COVID-19 Vaccination Certificates in South Africa
Many South Africans were able to access the page, but when they tried to submit their details, they were given a System Error message… except for a ‘lucky few’ who managed to download the new Covid-19 vaccination certificate.

“Thus, we request members of the public to exercise patience while we implement the final refinement as we prepare to officially launch the first version of the COVID-19 vaccination digital certificate.”

The Department did acknowledge that “a few lucky individuals managed to access the system and download their vaccination certificates”.